Unlike the billionaires driving this case, independent developers and startups are not organized or equipped to effectively represent themselves before the European Commission, and so the Developers Alliance has taken up their cause. Google is a member of the Alliance, it’s true, as is Facebook, Intel, Ford and a pair of U.S.-based Internet service providers. But that short list discounts the much larger list of members from mid-size developers to startups. Vinje, on the other hand, does not — and should not — speak for the developer community on Android or anything else.
Two related items crossed my desktop today, either of which will seriously disrupt how developers use app stores to get their software to market. In the U.S., the Supreme Court agreed to weigh in on whether Apple can be sued by consumers for the markup it places on applications purchased through its App Store. Meanwhile, in the EU, Google is defending Android from charges that its licensing arrangements, which require device pre-loading of select Google apps, are anti-competitive. The overlap is that Google’s Android alternative is likely to mimic the closed ecosystem that has Apple under fire, and which might be open to class-action lawsuits from multiple directions.
2018 marks the ten year anniversary of the app ecosystem. In 2008 both Apple’s App Store and Google Play were launched, radically changing the way consumers interface with their devices.
Since then, the app economy has grown significantly and at a very fast pace, as shown by the latest report on the state of play in the EU app economy, published by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) earlier this month.
Imagine if Github, a web-based platform that allows users to upload and share code, had to filter through each content upload before it was posted to ensure some part of it wasn’t already claimed by copyright holders. Imagine having to do that on your platform for each piece of public user uploaded content. That future is not far off if the European Parliament passes a copyright Directive set for a vote in mid-late June.